St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park

Posted on Saturday, June 25th, 2016

inland blue hole belizeLocated in Belize’s western Cayo District near the capital of Belmopan, St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park is a site of natural beauty spanning more than 500 acres (2 square kilometers) in size. Three of the principal attractions are the inland Blue Hole, St. Herman’s Cave, and the Crystal Cave.

Visitors to the park usually enter off the Hummingbird Highway. Located about 200 yards from the visitor center is St. Herman’s Cave which was used for centuries by Maya priests to conduct ceremonies and to collect water dripping from stalactites that they considered to be holy. St. Herman’s Cave is an enormous underground structure but it is possible for unguided visitors to make their way approximately 200 yards into the cave before they will need a trained guide to go further. At the rear of the cave is a stream, allowing visitors to float their way back to the cave entrance using an inner tube.

St. Herman’s Cave is connected by an underground stream to the Blue Hole, often referred to as the Inland Blue Hole to prevent confusion with the Belize Blue Hole located offshore in the Belize Barrier Reef. The (Inland) Blue Hole is where the underground stream comes to the surface, providing visitors with a source of cool and refreshing water for swimming. Formed by the collapse of a cavern, the Blue Hole measures about 8 meters (26 feet) deep and is almost perfectly round with a diameter of 100 meters (330 feet).

Beyond the Blue Hole lies the Crystal Cave, sometimes called the Mountain Cow Cave. Visitors will need the assistance of a trained guide to explore spectacularly beautiful stalactites and caverns shimmering with accumulated crystalline structures. Just as with St. Herman’s Cave, the Crystal Cave was a sacred cite for the Ancient Maya who believed that it was a nexus to the world of the gods.

During the path to the country’s independence, Belize acquired the land in and around St. Herman’s Cave, declaring it a park on November 23, 1986. In order to maintain and preserve the natural beauty of the park, foreign non-profit organizations were brought in. Currently, St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park is maintained and operated by the Belize Audubon Society.

The park is located approximately 12 miles southeast of Belmopan and both entrances are located immediately adjacent to the Hummingbird Highway. The principle entrance leads to a visitor center, gift shop, hiking trails, a picnic area and the path to St. Herman’s Cave. The second entrance leads to a picnic area, hiking trails, washrooms and leads directly to the Blue Hole.


Visit our website www.chabilmarvillas.com for more information on Belize, and don’t hesitate to send us an email, or call US/CAN Toll Free: 1-866-417-2377, Local: (011-501) 523-3606, if you have questions or need help in planning a Belize vacation.

 

Chabil Mar Chef to Compete in Taste of Belize

Posted on Friday, June 24th, 2016

taste of belize logo

The award-winning resort of Chabil Mar in Placencia is happy to announce that its very own head chef, Carlos Hernandez, will be competing in the 2016 Taste of Belize competition.

Organized by the Belize Tourism Board, the Taste of Belize is the country’s premiere cooking competition. Ten top-level chefs will compete in three elimination style rounds with the winner being awarded the coveted title of Belize Master Chef 2016.

Carlos Preparing Dish Chabil Mar Resort Belize

Chef Carlos Henandez

“We’re very proud that our head chef, Carlos Henandez, will be competing in this year’s Taste of Belize competition,” said Larry France, marketing manager of Chabil Mar. “Carlos has been providing a mouthwatering array of tasty dishes for our guests for years and we know that he has the skills and drive to take home the grand prize.”

Similar to the popular cooking television program “Chopped”, the Taste of Belize begins with 10 of the country’s most esteemed chefs battling in several rounds, with chefs being “chopped” or eliminated after each round. In the first round, the 10 chefs will be required to prepare four identical appetizers in 15 minutes. In the second round, the surviving five chefs will have 90 minutes to prepare a signature entree. In the third and final round, the three remaining chefs will have 30 minutes to prepare a dessert for the panel of judges.

Entre 2 at Reception Chabil Mar Resort Belize
Chabil Mar, located on the southern tip of the idyllic Placencia Peninsula in southern Belize, is an award-winning luxury resort with its own onsite restaurant called Cafe Mar. Helmed by chef Carlos Hernandez, the Chabil Mar restaurant has been serving up a delicious repast of elegant dishes that fuse Belizean and local flavors with international influences. Chabil Mar uniquely offers guests the opportunity to enjoy Chef Carlos Hernandez’s signature dishes anywhere on the resort, including beautiful outdoor beachfront settings and on the veranda of guest villas.

One of the most popular dining options at Chabil Mar is when guests take advantage of the rich waters of the nearby Belize Barrier Reef and successfully land a fish. Returning to the resort, Chef Carlos Hernandez and his team cook it to perfection, giving guests a unique opportunity to savor the very best in fresh Belizean cuisine.

Carlos and Team Chabil Mar Resort Belize

Appetizer Chabil Mar Resort Belize

The staff and thousands of satisfied guests of Chabil Mar wish the very best for Chef Carlos Hernandez in the 2016 Taste of Belize competition and look forward to savoring many more of his award-winning dishes.

Belize Rocks For Families

Posted on Monday, June 20th, 2016

belize family vacationFamily fun in Belize

Just a few hours’ flying time from the United States, Belize is increasingly becoming a popular destination for families wanting to experience an unforgettable vacation. With a stable, peaceful democratic government and English as its official language, families can enjoy the time of their lives in Belize as they explore ancient lost cities, see wildlife up close and in person, splash in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean and enjoy plenty of fun in the sun.

Belize has a large network of wildlife sanctuaries and national parks that provide animal lovers of all ages a chance to see a colorful array of birds, plants and animals. Families can see the endangered black howler monkey at the Community Baboon Sanctuary, big cats like pumas and jaguars at the Belize Zoo (an animal sanctuary), or hike through Cockscomb Basin Reserve to see Baird’s tapir, Belize’s national animal.

family vacation belizeWhen it’s time for adventure, families can explore one of the many Maya ruins, enormous cities occupied for thousands of years until they were abandoned and reclaimed by the jungle. For cooler and shadier thrills, exploring one of Belize’s many caves is an excellent opportunity to learn about geology as well as witness artifacts left behind by Maya priests who conducted solemn ritual rites therein.

Offshore, the islands of Belize and the enormous barrier reef offer a chance for the entire family to don snorkeling or diving equipment and witness some of the most ecologically-diverse environments on the planet. Whether it’s just a few feet offshore or at the bottom of the famous Belize Blue Hole, you and your family will be enthralled by swimming with nurse sharks, rays, sea turtles and large schools of fish. The islands are also a great chance to unwind as motor vehicles are largely prohibited and everyone gets around by bicycle or electric golf cart.

Chabil Mar

From a Maya term meaning “beautiful sea”, the resort of Chabil Mar on Placencia Peninsula offers family-friendly modern luxury in a beautiful beachfront setting just a few minutes’ walk from Placencia Village.belize with kids

The resort of Chabil Mar is an ideal base of operations for exploring the most exciting destinations in Belize. You and your family can experience the best sites in Belize with Chabil Mar’s family fun vacation packages that include trips to Maya ruins, a boat tour up the Monkey River, a hike through Cockscomb Nature Preserve, and plenty of time to relax and enjoy the wonderful weather, food, and rich cultural heritage of Belize.

For more information about visiting Belize or traveling to Belize with kids, feel free to chat with our Concierge at: concierge@chabilmarvillas.com or contact our Reservations Manager at:reservations@chabilmarvillas.com. Or perhaps you would like to call toll free from the US or Canada: 1-866-417-2377.

 

Where to Stay in Placencia Belize

Posted on Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

placencia belize hotelsChabil Mar, the best resort for your Placencia Belize vacation

One of Belize’s top destinations is the lovely Placencia Peninsula, a gorgeous finger of land measuring one mile across and 16 miles long on the country’s southeastern Caribbean coast.

Placencia Peninsula

With a north-south orientation, the eastern side of Placencia Peninsula fronts the sparkling waters of the Caribbean while the western side is framed by a bio-diverse mangrove-lined lagoon. The pristine beaches are ideal for swimming or relaxing under the shade of a coconut tree while the lagoon side is an angler’s paradise, teeming with gamefish all year round.

The world-famous Belize Barrier Reef is just a few miles offshore, making Placencia an ideal jumping off point to enjoy some of the best fishing, sailing, snorkeling and diving opportunities in the world.

placencia village belize
Placencia Village

At the southern tip of the peninsula is the area’s unofficial capital, Placencia Village. Still a small, active fishing village, Placencia is featured in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the smallest main street in the world (a 4,000 foot-long sidewalk that measures four feet across at its widest point). With several colorful cafes, ATMs, bars, and dive shops, the village makes a great base for visitors seeking to explore the nearby reef or mainland attractions.

Placencia Peninsula’s Attractions

Beyond the delicious foods and drinks, the village of Placencia is a popular attraction in its own right due to its position as a center of Garifuna culture. Visitors can meet and learn from master craftsmen or take classes to learn the unique Garifuna drumming techniques.

Just a few miles west from the village is the Cockscomb Basin Nature Preserve, a vast protected area covered in hiking trails that allow visitors to see exotic wildlife like monkeys, tapirs, and jaguars in their natural habitat. Another popular nearby destination is the Monkey River, where visitors can enjoy a leisurely boat ride up the river while observing tropical flora and fauna. Placencia is also close to the Belize Barrier Reef, including Gladden Spit Marine Reserve where travelers can snorkel or scuba dive with whale sharks.

where to stay in placencia belize

Where to stay in Placencia Belize

One of the finest resorts on the Placencia Peninsula is Chabil Mar, named for a Maya term meaning “Beautiful Sea.” With 24 beachfront villas equipped with all modern amenities, visitors can relax and be pampered in one of the most luxurious resorts in the country.

Located just a few minutes’ walk from Placencia Village, Chabil Mar has its own tropical gardens, award-winning restaurant, and infinity swimming pool.

Chabil Mar offers guided tours to all of the top attractions on the mainland and the Belize Barrier Reef.

How to Get to Placencia

The peninsula can be reached by car or private transportation from Belize City in about three to four hours. There are also regular domestic air connections from an airstrip just outside of Placencia Village to Belize City and other locations in the country.

For information about the Placencia Peninsula, feel free to chat with our Concierge at: concierge@chabilmarvillas.com or contact our Reservations Manager at:reservations@chabilmarvillas.com. Or perhaps you would like to call toll free from the US or Canada: 1-866-417-2377.

When is the best time to visit Belize

Posted on Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Best Time To Travel To Belize

Unlike temperature countries farther north like Canada and the United States, there are no change of seasons in Belize. The weather is warm and sunny all year round. The only seasonal variations are denoted in terms of the amount of rainfall, usually divided into the “dry season” and the “green season”.

High and Low Seasons

Because tourism is an important mainstay of the economy, many people in Belize divide the calendar year into the high season and the low season which roughly correspond to the greener and drier months. The high season runs from December to April when the weather is drier and many people from temperature latitudes flock to Belize to escape the icy clutches of wintry weather. Because these are the most popular months to visit, accommodation rates are usually higher during this period.

The low season runs from approximately May to November. Rainfall is higher during this period but it is usually restricted to early morning showers and overnight storms, keeping most days clear and sunny. With fewer crowds to deal with and lower tour and room rates, many travelers prefer to visit Belize during the low season.

Belize Festivals and Events

Belizeans are a fun-loving people and there are plenty of festivals and events throughout the year.

Lobster Festivals – The island of Caye Caulker, the town of San Pedro on Ambergris Caye and the Placencia Peninsula each host a popular festival to celebrate the mighty lobster. These events are held in June to coincide with the beginning of the lobster fishing season.

The International Costa Maya Festival – A mixture of a beauty pageant and event to celebrate the cultural heritage of the Maya, this lively week-long celebration is held in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye.

September – Throughout the country, important holidays like Independence Day (Sep 21), St. George’s Caye Day (September 10 in honor of an important naval battle where the British defeated the Spanish on St. George’s Caye) and Carnival (similar to but different than the springtime Carnival held before Easter) keep September lively.

Toledo Chocolate Festival – Held in the heart of the cacao-growing part of Belize, it’s a mouthwatering celebration of all things chocolate (dates vary).

La Ruta Maya River Challenge – Held every March, La Ruta Maya challenges canoe crews to navigate hundreds of miles of river on a four-day race to get to the finish line in Belize City.

Garifuna Settlement Day – Every November 19, the Garifuna people re-enact their perilous boat voyage across the Caribbean to arrive in Belize with plenty of music, dancing, drumming, and food.

Where to Stay in Belize

where to stay in belizeOne of the finest resorts in the country is Chabil Mar on the Placencia Peninsula in southeastern Belize. Just a short distance away from the Belize Barrier Reef and the most popular mainland attractions, Chabil Mar offers guests unparalleled luxury with several tastefully appointed villas with a full range of modern amenities, an onsite restaurant, bar, and a gorgeous infinity pool.

Visit our website www.chabilmarvillas.com for more information on Belize, and don’t hesitate to send us an email, or call US/CAN Toll Free: 1-866-417-2377, Local: (011-501) 523-3606, if you have questions or need help in planning a Belize vacation.